I can’t sleep, so I’m writing on my stupid page. I just had this weird dream in which I went to go out to dinner with Irwin Chiu, Eddie Ahn, Leo Hsu, and I think Bobby Ro. And we go in the restaurant (it’s Chinese, like Fresh Taste, near campus) and they say they’re closed. And I look around and at one table behind me, Paul Lee, Charlie Chang, and some other Asian person is having dinner. Really weird. We end up getting Pearl Milk Ice Tea (at the same restaurant) instead, and the waiter tries to tell me to use that one word for it (sounds like binzunaizar?) instead of boba because boba if you pronounce it wrong sounds like a bad word.

It’s the second dream this week I’ve had with both Irwin and Leo in it. Some other night I dreamt I was going back to school, and I was rooming with Irwin again. But it was kind of like camp; we had apartments, but we had to go somewhere else to go to the bathroom. Leo Hsu and Chris Chuang lived in my building, and Lorraine showed me how to get to the bathroom. And when I went to the dining hall (more like a tent), Jen Lee was there. And when I go back to my room, Paul Jung is giving guitar lessons to like 10 random people in my apartment. Weird.

I don’t know if people realize how little judgment I have sometimes.

I once had a conversation with a friend about a mutual acquaintance where we talked about how when we first met this person, this person ignored us (in different contexts) for quite some time. So, it kind of became an inside joke between us. So one year, when this friend sent me a Christmas card, this friend made a mention of the acquaintance, ha ha, funny.

So, I went to the FiCS Winter Retreat before school started that year, and some of us were sitting around the table talking, including the acquaintance who used to ignore me, and somehow this topic came up. And for some idiotic reason, I decide to mention to the acquaintance how my friend, whom the acquaintance does not really know well, mentioned the acquaintance in a Christmas card to me. And, it’s a little bit uncomfortable, and a person who knew about this inside joke (or maybe not, but knew both the friend and the acquaintance) was shooting looks my way saying “stop”.

But not only don’t I stop, but I decide to prove it by going and getting the said card, which was in my bag. So I did, and it just made everyone uncomfortable, and added crazy amounts of uncomfortability between the friend and the acquaintance, who did not know each other well, for quite some time. I don’t know what I was thinking. Seriously, sometimes the lack of judgment I have is astounding. It’s terrible.

Another time, we were at All Campus Retreat, and some of us were sitting around a table, and I started talking about this thing a friend of mine did that was in poor taste. The thing is, this friend’s significant other was there. And, as I’m talking about it, this friend is I think shooting looks at me to stop, and as usual I don’t, I keep it going, keep it going until I’ve gone too far. And then I realize I’ve said too much, and think to myself, “oops.” I then excuse myself from the table and this friend and significant other proceed to have an hours long conversation because of what I said.

Another time, a bunch of us were hanging out in a lounge in Stern, and I ask this person, just jokingly, why this person doesn’t go for a mutual friend. You know, I insinuate all the time, not really seriously. And I keep prodding and ask if this person likes the mutual friend. And the person says, “I can honestly say that I do not at this time like” the person.

And the person is obviously trying to say something, signal to me, but I’m too dumb to pick it up, and I say something like, “Ooh! So that means you might have liked” the mutual friend “sometime in the past?” And I keep pushing it pushing it pushing it, asking more and more about it. And the thing is, this mutual friend’s sibling is in the room also. And then suddenly I realize that there is something there, that other people in the room knew but I didn’t, and they probably didn’t want to talk about it because said sibling was in the room, and when I realize this, I stop talking, and I think to myself, “oops”. As always, just when I’ve carried it too far. And it’s uncomfortably quiet for a while.

Then the person and the mutual friend’s sibling proceed to talk about it for a long time. Meanwhile, me and another friend are trying to loudly talk to each other, to show that we’re not trying to listen in on their conversation and eventually I get too tense so I scurry off to the bathroom. Oops.

There was another time a friend tells me over winter break how (s)he got hooked up over break. And I’m happy, and everything, and I have a big mouth and want to tell people but this friend says to “wait until we get back to school.” So, being the good friend that I am, I don’t tell anyone during the break myself, even though I see people that break.

So, I go back to school and randomly, run into this friend’s significant other’s good friend. And we get to talking, and I’m thinking, my friend said to wait until we’re back at school. We’re back at school. Should I tell this person? And my thinking is, yeah, this person is really good friends with my friend’s SO, so they would want this person to know, as opposed to some random person. So it’s OK to tell this person about it. So I do.

After I get back to my room, I think about what I’ve done, and I’m not sure if I’ve done the right thing. So, I call my friend, and say to her/him, “Hey is it OK if I tell people now?” And this friend says something like I should wait a bit more so they get a chance to tell their friends. Their thinking is they want to tell their friends themselves instead of having them hear about it secondhand. My exact reaction in my mind was “Oops.” And I don’t know what to say, so I say, “OK.”

Soon after, the person I told calls my friend’s SO and says, “Hey, Danny told me you guys got hooked up.” So my friend’s SO is pretty angry about that, and tells my friend, who’s pissed off at me, because to my friend’s perspective, it seems like I totally just lied or broke a promise or something like that. I said I wouldn’t tell anyone, and I then I go out and tell someone. So, my friend leaves angry messages on my answering machine, the first one of which said, and I quote it in its entirety: “I hate you. (click)”

And you know, it was deserved, it was bad judgment (again) on my part. The thing is, I honestly didn’t lie. That’s the truth, Ruth. And, I kept my word. I didn’t tell anyone about their relationship for the next 2 years. I’m not joking. I promise you, if you heard about them secondhand, it wasn’t from me. If a stranger came up to me and asked about them, seriously, I didn’t say they were hooked up. Not until after we graduated.

So yeah, I have bad judgment.

I stayed up all night last night finishing Timeline, that Michael Crichton book I was reading; I think that’s why my sleeping is all jacked right now.

Anyway, I thought it was a good read, but I wasn’t as compelled by the science he presented. I don’t know, at least, I’m not really worried about my conception of God. (Uh, this section is pretty much just for Dave.)

First of all, I don’t know how widespread his particular ideas of multiverses are. Multiverses are the idea that there are an infinite number of alternate universes, constantly splitting between different possibilities, and they interact. So if you took Physics Light and Heat I’m sure you know the slit experiment, and how if you have a light source that shines through two slits onto a screen, instead of seeing two lines of light on the screen, you get an interference pattern, because the light waves interact in positive and negative ways.

The weird thing is, even if you set up the experiment so only one photon of light is emitted at a time, and have a detector that can detect a single photon, you shouldn’t see an interference pattern. But you still do. It’s weird, and this is a known result. So, the idea is that, it does interact with something – in a different universe. And this idea of infinite multiverses, constantly splitting at every moment, explains a lot of ideas in quantum physics, the theories of which are time and time again verified practically.

But I don’t know, I wasn’t convinced. Crichton presented it as a random theory presented in 1957, and himself notes that many people didn’t accept it. So, I don’t know how widespread it is. Also, these are ideas I’ve come across before. Like in my Symbolic Systems senior seminar, we dealt a lot with quantum effects and their philosophical implications (drawing heavily from Roger Penrose’s The Emperor’s New Mind, which I stronly recommend), and this idea didn’t come up, so again, I wonder if it’s that accepted.

The thing that unsatisfied me most is that Crichton didn’t complete the explanation for us; how he moves from multiverses to time travel in the same universe. That wasn’t explained satisfactorily at all. I looked over his references and the titles of the papers all dealt with time and time travel, so I’m sure there’s a theoretical physics basis for it, I’m just saying that he didn’t explain it very well.

He also brought up interesting issues, like the killing your grandfather paradox, but didn’t really deal with them well either, and I kept waiting for him to.

But, I thought it was a really good read. Lots of interesting ideas and history. And, a lot of the theory is pretty sound. Like of quantum computers – Stanford actually has an occasional quantum computing class in the CS department, so work is being done.

But, I don’t know, I love philosophy, and I love thinking about philosophical implications. How in the book they travel is they copy exactly all a person’s molecular and submolecular information and reconstitute it somewhere else. They destroy it here, and remake it somewhere else.

But there are deep questions with this. Like, is it the same person? It should be, right? Since it’s the exact same formation. But then, it makes you ask what it means to be the same person. Locke thought about this a lot, and he decided it’s a continuity of memories. But then, are memories purely physical? If you exactly copied me physically, down to the quantum level, would my copy have my memories? Or is there some notion of a soul or something like that that’s somehow separate from my body?

Most people say no, and Crichton implicitly does also, since the reconstituted people are the same people, not in just a physical or psychological sense, but in a metaphysical sense of the word person – if they’ve changed, then it’s said that the person changed, not that it’s a different person.

But then, why destroy the original? Crichton doesn’t really discuss this. But, is it necessary? What if you could make a perfect copy without destroying the original. Or, if you could make two copies and destroy the original. Crichton implicitly indicates that the copy is the same “person”. But then, with two copies, which one is the real “person”? Why? And, do they continue to be the same person? They clearly don’t. But then, that’s deeply weird.

Anyway, that’s the type of metaphysical stuff I like to think about, and you’d be surprised how much discussion there is of absurd situations like this in philosophical literature, at least in the classes I took.

Umm, like I was saying, I wasn’t completely compelled by the science in Timeline, especially in regards to time travel. There were just a bunch of leaps and holes in logic there. For my money, the special features in Frequency that talked about string theory were the best basis for time travel, based on the most widely discussed theories that I’ve seen.

Uh, but yeah, Timeline is a good book.

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